Over bearing DON

  1. 0
    I am working in LTC and I am a new LPN. I am having to deal with an over beating DON. She makes me on edge when I'm at work and she there. How do I get over this over bearing DON.?
  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    What shift do you work? If you work first shift it will next to impossible to avoid her accept when professionally necessary. But let me ask you this, is she overbearing or is she just checking up on you to make sure you're ok being that you are a new nurse? When you are fresh out the gate, you will need all the advice and help possible until you get significant experience under your belt. Anyone who can read can pass meds; all you have to do is pay attention to the mar and medication cards. However, noticing an adverse reaction to medications is a whole 'nother ball game and you need that experienced nurse looking over your shoulder, making sure you are following nursing policies, procedures, and nursing standards not to mention monitoring the patient. Trust me, when the poo hits the fan and you panic and don't know what to do, you will be glad she was there to jump in and help. I used to tell nursing students that shadowed me, it's the instructor's job to teach you how to be a nurse, its my job to teach you how to do your job; which includes job functions and everything you learned in nursing school plus CRITICAL THINKING.
    cienurse likes this.
  4. 4
    As a DON I love to hire new grads and slowly groom them into good nurses. New grads are going to make mistakes for months, I expect that to happen BUT if we (the more seasoned nurses and I) never correct them they will only continue to make the same mistakes. You need to ask yourself if you want to learn to be a great nurse or do you want others just to let your mistakes slide? With that said, I would hope they are taking to time to make you understand the "whys" of how things are done and not just barking orders of what to do.

    As a new grad you also need to understand that DON is ultimately responsible for the care you do or do not do. She will be the one to answer to upset family members, upset corporate bigwigs, her own boss, state surveyors, etc for the mistakes you make. As a DON, my primary job is to make sure the nurses are doing their job correctly!
    cienurse, CapeCodMermaid, IowaKaren, and 1 other like this.
  5. 3
    What Nascar Nurse said. ^^

    FWIW, I don't think most DONs mean to be overbearing or intimidating. We are nurses who started out just like you, fresh graduates who had heads full of book-learning and little practical experience of what it is to be a nurse. If we are intense sometimes, it's not because we don't like you or trying to make you fear us; it's because we want to make sure you're learning your job well and doing things correctly.

    We know you'll make mistakes; we still do too! But we have a lot on our plates, like NN said above, which goes beyond what the floor nurses have on theirs. We aren't responsible for only our own practice, we have to make sure we've trained our staff properly, deal with families, do endless paperwork, and be the go-to person when surveyors are in the building. And that doesn't even begin to cover scheduling, handling call-ins, working extra shifts when no one's available to work, trying to control outbreaks of Norovirus and scabies, and more.

    Now that you know a little more about what your DON has to cope with on an average day, perhaps you can try giving her the benefit of the doubt. Instead of overbearing, she might just be stressed out....and it does wonders for a manager when a staff member asks her how SHE is doing.
  6. 2
    You seem to be vague in explaining what it is that she is doing to make you ON EDGE. Just walking about the halls, looking over your shoulder, staring at you? It can be big pain but its best for both her and you if you are new to the game. if she is just monitering you at times, ask her questions on things, put her to work for you, dont let her let you become anxious because you are that already, she is there to help you out and if both of you create a great teamplayer attitude and converse about patients and their cases, she will feel more apt to leave you alone more often, but you have to create that sense of commonality, patience, and most of all communication between the both of you that will in the long run solve many many problems. Look at this as a new relationship forming between you two, dont put a negative feeling to it about her watching you or just being around. SHE is making herself available to you for information. So take advantage of it. Afterall, she wants you to do a great job , feel comfortable being there and in turn this will make you do a better job and both you and she will be relieved in the long run. Consider her to be your Drill Sergeant, although not as harsh, she wants you do to a good job because your work reflects her status as a DON. Always do a role reversal, picture yourself as the DON and think about how her day is going and a new nurse comes onto the floor. What would you be like?
    cienurse and VivaLasViejas like this.
  7. 2
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    What Nascar Nurse said. ^^

    FWIW, I don't think most DONs mean to be overbearing or intimidating. We are nurses who started out just like you, fresh graduates who had heads full of book-learning and little practical experience of what it is to be a nurse. If we are intense sometimes, it's not because we don't like you or trying to make you fear us; it's because we want to make sure you're learning your job well and doing things correctly.

    We know you'll make mistakes; we still do too! But we have a lot on our plates, like NN said above, which goes beyond what the floor nurses have on theirs. We aren't responsible for only our own practice, we have to make sure we've trained our staff properly, deal with families, do endless paperwork, and be the go-to person when surveyors are in the building. And that doesn't even begin to cover scheduling, handling call-ins, working extra shifts when no one's available to work, trying to control outbreaks of Norovirus and scabies, and more.

    Now that you know a little more about what your DON has to cope with on an average day, perhaps you can try giving her the benefit of the doubt. Instead of overbearing, she might just be stressed out....and it does wonders for a manager when a staff member asks her how SHE is doing.
    This is the absolute truth! Most DON's are visible on the floors because we need to know our families, our residents, and our staff. I also like to see any wounds that come in, observe complex treatments like trach care and wound vacs, and I like to check in with the new staff I hire to make sure things are going well for them and to ask if they are feeling comfortable and settling into a routine. You don't mention what the DON does that is so overbearing or intimidating, but my suggestion would be to give her a friendly smile and converse with her about some of the sicker residents you're taking care of. Believe it or not, we were all floor nurses at one time before we got the "highly prestigious and cushy DON job!" Hahahahaha, not really but that's how we're perceived sometimes. It's okay to approach us-we were just as nervous as you once upon a time!
    VivaLasViejas and Nascar nurse like this.
  8. 2
    I agree with both of the above. As a DON, I love hiring new grads but I tend to stay on them. In the end, it's for 3 reasons. Protection of the patient, Protection of you (new nurse), and protection of myself. There are some DON's that aren't on the floor or aren't involved, and that will be worse, trust me! It is beyond a doubt the most stressful job I've ever done. Foster a relationship with your DON. Talk to him/ her. Most of all, when you feel your DON is being overbearing, remember they are protecting your license and their own.

    My best nurses are the ones who make mistakes but own up to them, report them, and attempt to fix them. We're all human- we all screw up- but as long as you bring effort and improvement, I'll work with you!
    VivaLasViejas and Nascar nurse like this.
  9. 3
    I hired a hospital nurse (not a new nurse) about 3 months ago. She had NO long term care experience and I was a little nervous about converting her to a LTC nurse. I warned her on day 1 that she should expect lots of feedback from me on a near constant basis - I also told her this was not to pick at her but to make her a good nurse. She told me day 1 "Bring it on - I'll learn whatever you toss my way. I hate the hospital".


    3 months later and she is doing fantastic. I have "corrected" her numerous times - but NEVER on the same thing twice! She understands what she is doing and more importantly she understands WHY she is doing them (in regards to documentation and such). She has never once seemed to be offended by being corrected.
    cienurse, IowaKaren, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  10. 0
    what exactly puts you on edge with your DON.. im new in LTC, and I rarely see my DON.. wish I could have a little feedback from her... i so afraid when I run iv's, and do trach care... i feel completely on my own...
  11. 0
    She would never telling I'm doing a something wrong till she had 5 or more things to talk to me about. I feel she is always looking over my shoulder. My MDS RN has even said she thinks she has it out for me. NASCAR I wish I had you for a don.


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